The study objectives were to improve access to earlier and safer abortion and offer women a wider choice of pregnancy methoded two pilot projects conducted in a teaching hospital to assess the feasibility of a telephone booking clinic and LA-STOP service. The primary outcome measures were the uptake of services by referrers and patients, staff acceptability, and cost.
Demand from referrers for the telephone booking clinic was more significant than could be accommodated by the service. Telephone consultation was popular with patients at their convenience in their homes and with staff, as it reduced clinic assessment time. Some staff members felt that consulting over the telephone affected their assessment of the patient’s emotional status. Outpatient LA-STOP seemed well accepted by both staff and patients as it offered patients a convenient and safe method of early abortion. A preliminary costing indicated a net saving plus increased service capacity.
The study concluded that introducing a telephone booking clinic and LA-STOP service into existing hospital services is feasible and cost-effective. Further research is required to evaluate the potential for reducing waiting times and the gestations at which terminations are carried out.